Toner Cartridges - What are the Different Types?
'Original Cartridges' or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
New cartridges made by the manufacturer.
Cartridges produced by the laser printer manufacturer are designed and produced to the highest standards resulting in optimal print quality.
'Toner level' indicators function correctly.
Lower failure rates and less risk of ink leakages.
100% guarantee from the manufacturer.
The most expensive option.
To simply discard the depleted cartridge is ecologically unfriendly, given that alternatives exist.
'Re-manufactured Cartridges'/'Return Cartridges' and 'Compatible Cartridges'
'Re-manufactured Cartridges'/'Return Cartridges' are recycled versions of an OEM cartridge carried out by a re-manufacturer.
'Compatible Cartridges' are produced by a third party manufacturer using new components.
Shops/adverts may interpret the above definitions loosely, so if a buyer requires a specific type of cartridge, "Caveat emptor/let the buyer beware" - if in doubt always ask for details!
Readily available from online stores and significantly cheaper than OEM versions (typically 30-50%).
Reputable companies produce cartridges that print to a very high standard and come with a full guarantee.
Compatible with most brands/models of laser printer.
Recycling is good for the environment.
The overriding issue concerns Quality Control. The results produced by these types of cartridges are variable from below average to very good and depend on how diligently the re-manufacturer has checked and replaced any worn parts as well as the quality of refill ink used. Buyers should purchase from reputable companies that give full guarantees on defective products.
Higher fail and leakage rates are a possibility.
'Toner level' indicators may not function correctly.
Using these may invalidate the printer manufacturer's warranty.
Standard and High Yield Cartridges
Finally, note that toner cartridges often come in standard size and high yield versions. These differ in the number of pages they can print and associated costs per page (cpp). Do remember though to always apply due dilligence before buying, as manufacturers may change specifications and also prices change subject to market forces.
The following example looks at 3 different Epson M8000N cartridges to illustrate the differences in price, pages printed and cpp.
OEM black toner: £200/15000 pages which equates to £0.013= 1.3 pence cpp
Re-manufactured black toner: £160/15000 pages which equates to £0.011= 1.1 pence cpp
Re-manufactured black toner: £274/30000 pages which equates to £0.009= 0.9 pence cpp